Energy is essential to the way we live. Whether it is in the form of oil, gasoline or electricity, the worlds' prosperity and welfare depends on having access to reliable and secure supplies of energy at affordable prices. Improving how we acquire, produce, and consume energy is central to becoming economically and environmentally responsible and sustainable.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Germany's $263 Billion Renewables Shift
Not since the allies leveled Germany in World War II has Europe’s biggest economy undertaken a reconstruction of its energy market on this scale.
Chancellor Angela Merkel is planning to build offshore wind farms that will cover an area six times the size of New York City and erect power lines that could stretch from London to Baghdad. The program will cost 200 billion euros ($263 billion), about 8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product in 2011, according to the DIW economic institute in Berlin.
Germany aims to replace 17 nuclear reactors that supplied about a fifth of its electricity with renewables such as solar and wind. Merkel to succeed must experiment with untested systems and policies and overcome technical hurdles threatening the project, said Stephan Reimelt, chief executive officer of General Electric Co. (GE)’s energy unit in the country.
Utilities running gas-generating plants in Germany lost 10.92 euros a megawatt-hour today at 12:16 p.m. local time, based on so-called clean-spark spreads for the next month that take account of gas, power and emissions prices. That compared with a profit of 20.95 euros in October 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. U.K. generators earned 2.06 pounds ($3.27), down from a profit of 7.02 pounds in October.
“Germany is like a big energy laboratory,” Reimelt said in an interview. “The country has a political and societal consensus to drop nuclear power but lacks a clear technological solution.”
Already, the program is expanding markets for Suntech Power Holdings Co. (STP), the world’s biggest solar panel maker, and Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS)., the largest maker of wind turbines. It’s hurting utilities from RWE AG (RWE) to EON AG (EOAN), which have stepped up cost-cutting to curb losses from closing nuclear stations early. More